When I think of foods I’m likely to encounter in the Himalayan areas, I think of momos, thukpa, yak cheese. But wait. All these dishes are of Tibetan origin. With that comes the realization that I, and most of us, have little idea as to what is consumed in an Indian home located in the foothills of the grand mountains on a regulaar day. That makes Veena Sharma’s book a crucial addition to the category of Indian food literature.
From Jammu, the Himalayan foothills pass through the Kangra Valley and extend through Sirmaur district to Dehradun and go on to touch the Garhwal and Kumaon regions. Out of this vast expanse of land, boasting a diverse range of local produce and food habits, the author has focused on the cuisine of the Garhwal region. Though simple and earthy in presentation, Garhwali cuisine, says Sharma, provides nourishment to the body, mind and soul.
The book would be incomplete without Sharma’s personal musings on Garhwal and her memories of food that set up the journey the reader is about to embark on. Based in Rishikesh, she weaves a romantic tale about the sun, the wind, the land and how it nurtures the produce grown in the region and, ultimately, the people.